Monday, October 30th
Devotional written by Pastor Brian Williams, Young Adults Pastor
BEING WITH JESUS BEGETS BEING LIKE JESUS
To read today: John 15:1-17
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
As we meditate upon living and loving like Jesus, it is essential that we aim not for the outcome of being like Him but for the input that will result in it – that is, to be with Jesus. For Peter and John, the distinguishing factor in their effectiveness and distinction was being with Jesus, not their knowledge of scripture, their power in the Spirit, their lack of insecurity, or even their ministry success. All those things were evidence of the time they had with Jesus. This was astonishing; the only correlation the leaders made was that these men had been WITH JESUS.
We often think that Jesus’ primary desire is for us to behave perfectly, but that is not what is in scripture. He first calls us to Himself. In John 15, we are called to remain and obey – to remain in Him, to remain with Him, and to want to be with Him. We can learn His heart, pace, and will in being with Him. Thus, it is His will that we are called to obey. His real goal is to be with us.
Each day, as we engage in spiritual disciplines (prayer, study of scripture, fasting, service, worship, solitude, etc.), we are not pursuing personal perfection but the One who is perfect. These are acts of curiosity about the God who first loved and saved us even while we were still sinners pursuing a relationship with Christ, with intentional rhythms of setting our hearts and minds on God and what He is up to, into, and all about. They are a means of being with Him.
In our task-driven, performance-oriented culture, the reality is that Jesus wants to be with me. By being with Him, I will become like Him, a reminder I regularly need. I can easily drift from loving Him to loving my refinement or accomplishment. Spending time with Jesus is the cake. Becoming like Him is just the frosting – the sweet stuff added on top that others praise, but is nothing without Jesus, the substance, the source, and the joy of my salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for bypassing You in pursuit of Your blessings. Forgive me for the times I’ve self-sufficiently pursued righteous behavior at the expense of sitting with You like Mary (Luke 10:38-42) and trusting Your timing and intention to transform me. Thank you for remembering my weakness in these things. Lead me through them to Your feet again. Draw me to Yourself and to that prize unparalleled in all the universe, the treasure and joy of Your face shining upon me. Amen